Behold: The Largest Known Spiral Galaxy

by Nancy Atkinson January 10, 2013

Astronomers have long known that a spectacular barred spiral galaxy named NGC 6872 is a behemoth, but by compiling data from several space- and ground-based observatories and running a few computer simulations, they have now determined this is the largest spiral galaxy we know of. Measuring tip-to-tip across its two outsized spiral arms, NGC 6872 […]

7 comments Read the full article →

Eye-Like Helix Nebula Turns Blue in New Image

by Nancy Atkinson October 4, 2012

A combined image of the Helix Nebula from the Spitzer Space Telescope,the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).. Credit: NASA/Caltech The Helix Nebula has been called the “Eye of God,” or the “Eye of Sauron,” and there’s no denying this object appears to be a cosmic eye looking down on […]

6 comments Read the full article →

Black Holes are More Like Venus Fly Traps than Vacuum Cleaners

by Nancy Atkinson May 2, 2012

I’m going to try and say this before the Bad Astronomer does: Holy Haleakala! A team of astronomers using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Mount Haleakala in Hawaii have found evidence of a black hole ripping a star to shreds. While this isn’t the first time this type of activity has been detected, these new observations […]

14 comments Read the full article →

Supernova Explosions, Black Hole Jets Might Cause Galaxies to ‘Age’ Faster

by Nancy Atkinson April 4, 2012

Supernova explosions and the jets of a monstrous black hole are scattering one galaxy’s star-making gas, driving a dramatic transformation from spiral galactic youth to elderly elliptical, according to a new study of a recently merged galaxy. Cool gas, the fuel from which new stars form, is essential to the youth and vigor of a […]

7 comments Read the full article →

GALEX Mission Comes to an End

by Nancy Atkinson February 7, 2012

A mission which helped map the ultraviolet sky and worked to confirm the nature of dark energy is coming to an end. Galaxy Evolution Explorer, or GALEX, was placed in standby mode today after nearly nine years of service and will be decommissioned later this year. With data from the mission, scientists were able to […]

2 comments Read the full article →